Have you ever wondered how many people view your website and how your website is used? If so, you might be surprised to know there is a way to view this data if your website was set up with the free Google Analytics service. All my clients’ websites have this service set up and have data tracked from the day the site launched. The video below is a gentle introduction to what Google Analytics data can tell you and how to use it.

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a free (unless you use Premium which is pricey) program that collects data on all your website visitors. It tracks what pages they view and how long they spend on each page. It also collects what browser they used, if they were on a desktop, tablet or mobile phone, where they are located and how they got to your site. To use Google Analytics your website has to be linked with a Google Analytics account by adding a bit of javascript to every page on your website.

How Do I Access My Data?

You’ll need a Google account (Gmail address) linked up to your Google Analytics account. All my clients have Google Analytics set up on their website. If you are a client and you’ve lost your Google Analytics access, please contact me and I’ll get you all set up.

To log into your account, go here: http://www.google.com/analytics Sign in link is in upper right corner.

Once you log in, you’ll see a list of websites you have access to view. If you have more than one website, they can be set up on the same Google Analytics account.

Google separates sites into Accounts, Properties and Views. This can be a little confusing, but it explains why you see three levels before you get to your data. Data is stored in the Views. You can have more than one view per website (Property). Most clients will find just one View called “All Web Site Data” per website in their account unless we’ve done some Google Analytics projects together. Click on the View “All Web Site Data” to see your reports.

Once you are in a View, you’ll see your “Audience Overview” report. Along the left side the reports are broken out by the following:

Real-Time

View data about visitors currently on your website. Generally you are more interested in what the majority of your users did over a time period than the users on your site at any moment, but Real-Time data can be interesting to browse.

Audience

Information about the people who view your website such as:

  • Where are they located
  • What language do they speak
  • What Operating System are they using
  • What web browser and web browser version are they using
  • What service provider are they on
  • What device they are using: a desktop, tablet or mobile phone

Acquisition

How people got to your website:

  • Did they find you in a search, go to your site directly or click a link on another website?
  • If they found you through a web search, what keywords did they search on?
  • If they found you through another website, what was that website?

Behavior

What did visitors do on your website:

  • What pages did they visit and how long did they spend on each page?
  • What pages did they enter and exit your site on?
  • Did they download any documents and click any links that took them off your website (only available if set up to be tracked under Events)
  • An In-Page Analytics report that shows where users click within a page

Conversions

Only useful if you’ve set up Goals or E-commerce within Google Analytics.

Goals for a site might be hitting a destination like a thank you page behind a contact form, spending a certain amount of time on a page, or an event like downloading a PDF. Goals and e-commerce tracking have to be set up within Google Analytics and sometimes require additional coding on your website. However they are a great way to keep track of important measures so you can make better decisions when it comes to your website.

I hope this post gets you interested in what you can learn from Google Analytics and encourages you to check it out. Viewing your data just might surprise you and help you make decisions about your website down the road.